Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm - Symptoms

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What are the symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm?

Most abdominal aortic aneurysms produce no symptoms (they are asymptomatic) and are discovered incidentally when an imaging test of the abdomen (CT scan or ultrasound) is performed. They can also be detected by physical examination when the health care professional feels the abdomen and listens for a bruit, the sound made by turbulent blood flow.

Pain is the most common symptom when the aneurysm expands or ruptures. It often begins in the central abdomen and radiates to the back or flank. Other symptoms can occur depending upon where the aneurysm is located in the aorta and whether nearby structures are affected.

Abdominal aortic aneurysms can remain asymptomatic or produce minimal symptoms for years. However, a rapidly expanding abdominal aneurysm can cause sudden onset of severe, steady, and worsening middle abdominal and back or flank pain. Rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm can be catastrophic, even lethal, and is associated with abdominal distension, a pulsating abdominal mass, and shock due to massive blood loss.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Demetri, 75 or over Male Published: March 08

Somewhere around June 3rd of 2010 I had a blood vessel in my brain burst. I thought I had heat stroke and went to bed with a severe headache. I stayed in bed for 3 days, my ex-wife came to check on me (we're still friends) and found me unconscious. I apparently asked her to take me to a doc-in-the-box, but she thought that it was more serious than that, so she took me to the hospital. They did an MRI and found the bleeding brain aneurysm, and I was immediately taken to surgery where the doctors clipped it off. Three days later I had a massive stroke, then 6 months later I had an epileptic seizure. I am lucky to be alive. I have lost 30 percent of the strength on my right side, but I am back in college in the paralegal field.

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Comment from: Runnergirl, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 26

I had a bad mountain bike accident almost 2 years ago. I had a CT scan done to look for a fracture in my hip. There was no fracture but they found a 3.4 cm infrarenal abdominal aortic aneurysm. I get ultrasounds every six months. Last week my ultrasound showed that the aneurysm had grown. I am scheduled for another CT scan in 2 weeks. I am a 51 years old female, very healthy and athletic. I am training for another marathon. I have done 6 ironman triathlons. I swim, dance, box, yoga, bike, and do Pilates. I am a fitness trainer and sports nutritionist. Get checked and best of luck!

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